Jan Jansen’s shoes – 60 years of shoes and Dutch Design
This exhibition will show six decades of iconic work by shoe designer Jan Jansen together with the work of Dutch designers. For over 60 years, Jan Jansen has been a master in colourful, extravagant and groundbreaking shoe design. He gained worldwide fame with his unique method and technical structures that challenge gravity, such as the ‘floating heel’. His work is seen as a source of inspiration for generations of designers that came after him. The exhibition celebrates the extensive oeuvre of this designer – who will turn 80 this spring – and shows parallels with works by, among others: couturier Ronald van der Kemp (RvdK), product designers Lex Pott and Mae Engelgeer and fashion talent Lisa Konno. With this exhibition, Museum JAN offers a platform for young talent and shows the generational influence that the work of Jan Jansen has had.
Shoe designer Jan Jansen (Nijmegen, 1941) has thousands of designs to his name and is a fashion icon both at home and abroad. His shoe designs combine comfort and craftsmanship with innovative design, with a touch of humour. It makes perfect sense that Vogue Italia affectionately calls him “the crazy shoemaker”. An explosive use of colours is characteristic of every shoe he creates. Jan Jansen is an intuitive designer and averse to fashion trends, which he expresses in organic, playful shapes and experimental use of materials. In 1973, for example, he designed his famous ‘Bamboo shoe’: a shoe with a high bamboo construction as a wedge heel. To minimise waste, Jan Jansen re-uses his lasts and leftover leather is processed into patchwork and details that adorn his shoes.
Shoes and Dutch Design
On the basis of a selection of iconic shoe designs by Jan Jansen, striking aspects of his design style will be highlighted. Next to each shoe, work is placed by designers who have a similar style or working method, or who have been inspired by the famous shoe designer. His patchwork, for example, shows similarities with the way Ronald van der Kemp recycles his fabrics. The brightly coloured cheerfulness of Bas Kosters’ collections ties in with Jansen’s use of colour. Fashion designer Karim Adduchi’s outfits made of traditional Berber braided rugs are a modern interpretation of an old craft, an aspect that is characteristic of Jan Jansen’s craftsmanship. And the way in which David Laport defies the laws of nature with his plissé that stays up like ‘windblown skirts’ is reminiscent of the famous ‘floating heel’. In one of the museum’s exhibition halls, an overview will be shown of Jan Jansen’s work over a period of 60 years. Lisa Goudsmit is guest curator of the exhibition and selected the work of the Dutch designers. Especially for the exhibition, the designer’s memoirs will be published in a limited, signed edition. The publication has been designed by his son Lok Jansen.
Inspired by Jan Jansen’s shoes – 60 years of shoes and Dutch Design
Museum JAN, Dorpsstraat 50, Amstelveen
until 29 August, 2021